In late Nov 2011, American Vegetable Grower asked its readers of the E-newsletter to talk about their marketing plan. Just 13% - 15% replied that they were content with the marketing plan they held. A third of them indicated that they want to improve the plan while over 20% showed that they have no marketing plans (VanVranken, 2012). Now it is in a world where competitors can perceive and rapidly simulate others’ advancements in products, services, pricing and anything. Communication is more and more important than before as a way of distinguish your products or services from those of your competitors. In this regard, a dialog between customer and supplier is needed extremely. And the dialog is marketing (Reese, 1996). Marketing has been thought highly all the time. Even in the high technology world we live in, it is usually not the tech but the marketing that leads to the success of a company (Zigmont, 1999). A marketing plan plays an important role in a company’s development. The next of this article will concentrates on the significance of a marketing plan to a company, how its every segment works.
2. The role and nature of a marketing plan
Planning is a procedure of foreseeing subsequent events and deciding tactics to accomplish companies’ targets for the days to come and Marketing planning relates to devising campaigns related to marketing objectives and the changing marketing environment (Huiling, 2009, p.6). According to Delaney (1994), in order to be efficient, marketing plans must be written documents which serve as guidebooks of marketing campaigns for the marketers and the fuel and direction that drives a company forward in the marketing area. Calkins (2009) said in his paper that marketing is not art, and is not philosophy. Marketing is a process and the marketing plan is a tool. Marketing plan is an important tool for an organization to realize its profitability and achieve success.
Marketing plans are different from Business Plans. Reiboldt (1999) established that a business plan provide a company with a blueprint to finish a series of goals such as marketing its products or services, recruiting new employees, or planning a budget. A business plan covers a lot of things including marketing part. While a marketing plan can be more precise and focuses on a smaller area. And Delaney (1994) came up with that the marketing plan is a critical part of a business plan when starting out.
As marketing plans have the characteristic of ensuring objectives and determining the actions needed to accomplish, they offer the basis to compare actual and expected performance. Marketing is important as well as expensive and complex business activities. The written marketing plans can be a good tool for employers and employees to make common efforts in the same direction. Marketing plans are used for examining the marketing environment as well as the inner workings of the business (Huiling, 2009, p.6). As long as the marketing plan is determined, it works as a reference book for the future of the company.
Most business need written marketing plans for that if communicating orally, many details about the implementation of tasks and activities can be lost. A successful marketing plan usually includes these elements – a. business mission, b. objectives c. situational review (or situation analysis including SWOT (strengths, weakness, opportunities, threats) analysis), d. target market e. marketing strategies (components of the marketing mix) f. implementation g. evaluation and controls. A marketing plan may appear in a variety of ways. Even though there can be many other kinds of statements about the basic elements of a marketing plan, they can be consistent in some way. No matter how different their structures are, they will include four key ingredients: the brief summary of a company’s objectives, several methods to accomplish these objectives, a list of resources required to implement the work, and a simple system to track progress and evaluate success (Paterson, 1997).